How to Sleep

Joseph Wilson, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist, Sports Injury Therapist & Yoga Therapist In-Training

Andrea Antaya RMTYou probably need more sleep. We all do. Between the barrage of amazing electronic entertainment devices and the demands of our mortgage-driven lifestyles, we are all not getting enough sleep, and when we do, we are doing it really, really poorly.

Here are three things you can do to get more out of your sleep.

1. Train yourself to wear an eye-mask that simulates sleeping in utter darkness. 

As much as I’d like to believe you will stop texting in bed, toss your blinky digital alarm clock out the window, and paint your windows black, it is more realistic to think you will go to the dollar store and buy a soft, puffy eye mask and train yourself to get used to wearing it while you sleep.

Why? Something about our brainwaves going into deeper, slower oscillations in absolute darkness. Our eyes can sense light even when they are closed, and we have these deep parts of our brain that are influenced by them from back in the day when we rose with the sunrise and slowed down with the sunset. Try it, you’ll like it.

2. Arrange your sleep into 90-minute cycles.

Apparently we fall into and come out of deep sleep in 90-minute cycles. Wake up at the end of one cycle and you’ll feel refreshed. Wake up in the middle of a cycle, and you’ll feel groggy all day. Ever woken up after just a few short hours of sleep feeling abnormally rested and refreshed? Ever woken up after sleeping in and went through the day wondering why you feel like there isn’t enough coffee on earth to keep you going? Yeah, like that.

Oh, you will need to add a 15-minute ramp-down time to actually fall asleep before your first cycle starts, so If you have to wake up at 6:00 am, go to sleep at 11:45 pm. 15 minutes to fall asleep followed by four 90-minute cycles. Get up immediately and Ah! Go get ‘em tiger!

If you look up from your computer and see that it is 12:30 am, it is better to stay up until 1:15 and then go to sleep. 15 minutes to fall asleep, then three 90-minute blocks between 1:30 and 6:00 am. Staying up until the start of the next cycle ensures that you don’t wake up in the middle of one to face the day in full-on zombie mode.

Don’t take my word for it, try it out yourself. Avoid operating heavy machinery on your interrupted sleep cycle day.

3. Stop hitting snooze!

Why? See pointer (2) above. You essentially keep falling asleep and getting jolted out of your body trying to enter into its next sleep cycle, over, and over again. You are setting yourself up for a serious caffeine addiction (plus sugar, cream, flavor-syrup pumps and other calorie rich additions) as your body seeks out energy to fight the mid-day mind-fog.

You are torturing yourself, and there really is no need to do so. You, and the people around you, deserve to see you act and be at your best.

Remember these wise words: “Rest is a weapon.” ~ Jason Bourne, or Yoda, …probably not Gandhi.

The 10 Minute Body Scan

Andrea Antaya, RMT, Dipl. S.T.T
Registered Massage Therapist, Shiatsu Therapist & Reiki Practitioner

Andrea Antaya RMTThis time of year I love nothing more than sitting in my backyard and enjoying the weather I longed for all winter. I have become quite good at multitasking since having my first child and this is what led me to incorporate a muscle relaxation exercise into any 10-minute period when I can sit outside. This exercise is basically a quick body scan that will help relax the muscles we tend to use more of this time of year when we become more active.

Begin by sitting or lying down in a relaxed position. While visualizing heaviness and warmth in the various parts of your body, say each line below. Once complete, repeat for as long as you wish, or for as long as time allows you each day.

Both arms are heavy.

Right leg is heavy.

Left leg is heavy.

Both legs are heavy.

Right arm is warm.

Left arm is warm.

Both arms are warm.

Heartbeat is calm and regular.

Breathing is calm and regular.

My abdomen is warm.

My forehead is cool.

 

I hope this helps both relax and restore you during these upcoming summer months! I look forward to also seeing you at the clinic, when your body says it’s time to add in a therapeutic or relaxing massage.

Just Go and Take a Hike :) !

Gabriella Tozser, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist

Gabriella Tozser RMTMost of my family and friends know me as an avid hiker who likes to get lost in the forest trails from sunrise to sunset. I love hiking because it is a very relaxing hobby and puts my mind into a meditation like state. A good hike has many benefits in addition to the beautiful scenery. I try to go at least two or three times a month whenever the weather is permitting. While I struggle to go to a gym and lift weights or swim in the local pool, I am more motivated and energized being in the middle of a forest.

Moving my legs one step at a time, I know I will be amazed once again with the beauty of the trails. I often don’t notice that hours pass by as I go my own pace and observe as much as I can along the way. I pass along little creeks and lakes surrounded by magnificent cedars and pine trees. At the lookout, I enjoy the view of the rolling hills and I feel connected to a higher-self.

In addition to the beautiful visuals, I gain better blood circulation because I’m constantly moving and pumping blood into all of my muscles and tissues, increasing oxygen to every square inch of my body and lowering the risks of high blood pressure and diabetes. My lungs feel clearer as I breathe the fresh air, and my vitamin D level increases as I soak up the sunshine. My mood is elevated and hopeful when I concentrate on the breathtaking surroundings, leaving all my worries behind as I quicken my step. I feel pleasantly tired with some muscle soreness, which is normal because I am building up muscle cells and getting stronger! Don’t forget the calories I burn climbing up to the top of each hill.

When I arrive back to my car, I make sure that I follow up my walk with a nice 15 minute stretch for my legs, arms, neck, and shoulders. Stretching also helps with the drive home. When I arrive home, the benefits of my adventurous day are still adding up. I know I will have a goodnight sleep and wake up rested and energized for days. I even notice that my endurance level at work improves. Most importantly, I can finally have my favourite chocolate treat! I hope you will put your hiking boots on too this spring and for all the good weather that is yet to come.

Many blessed and healthy hikes to you,

Gabriella T.

P.S. One of my favourite hikes is in Mono Cliffs, part of the Bruce trail system in Mono Provincial Park near Orangeville. Find more info at www.ontarioparks.com

Sugar Addiction

Calais Irwin, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist

Calais IrwinThe Easter Bunny has come and gone and we all have an abundance of chocolate and other sweet treats around the house, so let’s talk about sugar!

I think the most important thing to understand about sugar addiction is what happens in your brain when you eat sugar. There is a release of a chemical called dopamine into the nucleus accumbens, which is the reward centre of the brain. This area of the brain has a similar response when someone is using heroin or cocaine. Exposure to sugar can also cause a decrease in dopamine receptors, which basically creates a tolerance for sugar; thus, the next time you eat sugar, you need more of it to have the same pleasure reaction. A decrease in dopamine receptors won’t just effect how you feel after sugar consumption, but can also play a role in how you feel after all things you find pleasurable.

All Sugar Is Not Created Equal

When we talk about cutting back on sugar sugar addiction, we’re talking about added sugar (a.k.a. refined sugar). Sugar that is found naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables is much healthier because you are getting the added bonus of nutrients and fibre.

Here is a list of some of the different names for sugar (this list may not be exhaustive):

beet sugar, brown sugar, buttered syrup, cane-juice crystals, cane sugar, caramel, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, dextran, dextrose, diatase, diastatic malt, ethyl maltol, evaporated cane juice/syrup, fructose, glucose, glucose solids, golden sugar, golden syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltodextrin, maltose, mannitol, molasses, raw sugar, refiner’s syrup, sorbitol, sorghum syrup, sucrose, sugar, turbinado sugar, yellow sugar

Ingredients Labelling

When looking at food labels, you should be reading the list of ingredients. The nutritional information chart may list sugar, but that could be including naturally occurring sugar as well as added sugar.

When companies create their ingredients list, they list them in order of the amount contained in the product, from most to least (i.e. there will be more of the first ingredient on the list than the last). As more people are making informed choices about their food and doing things like reading labels, the food manufacturers have started using tricks to hide added sugars. One thing you may notice is multiple types of sugar listed in one product ingredient list. If the manufacturer just used one type of sugar, it may be the first ingredient on the list; however, if they use three types of sugar, the quantity of each one decreases and suddenly those ingredients drop to the bottom of the list. While you think there isn’t much sugar in your food, it could actually make up a significant amount of the product.

Sugar’s Effect On The Body

Sugar not only affects brain chemistry, it also affects just about every other part of your body. Sugar intake can be a contributing factor to the following health problems:

non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, over eating, exhaustion, depression, wrinkles and sagging skin, inflammation and joint pain

Cutting Out Sugar

If you’re considering cutting out or reducing refined sugars, there are tons of great recipes and blogs out there. I use the search term “refined sugar free” plus the name of what I’m looking for (i.e. refined sugar free ketchup). You’ll be shocked at how great these recipes taste without any refined sugar!

Here’s a few of my favourite refined sugar free recipes:

Homemade Ketchup

6oz can tomato paste
1/3 c honey
½ c white vinegar
¼ c water
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp onion powder (optional)
1/8 tsp garlic powder (optional)

Combine all ingredients in medium sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk until smooth. When mixture comes to a boil reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, stirring often. Remove pan from heat and cover until cool. Chill and store in covered container.

carrot cakeCarrot Cake with Cashew Frosting
(gluten, dairy, and refined sugar free)

3 cups almond flour
1 ½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 2/3 tbsp. cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
5 eggs
½ cup honey
¼ cup coconut oil
6 med carrots
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 325F.

In large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, honey and coconut oil. Stir in grated carrots, raisins and chopped walnuts. Mix wet ingredients into dry. Pour batter into two greased 9-inch round cake pans. Bake for 35 min. Cool and frost.

Cashew Frosting

¾ cup cashews, raw
¼ cup water
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ lime, fresh
½ tsp sea salt
¼ cup coconut oil, raw

Blend all ingredients except coconut oil until smooth. Add coconut oil and continue to blend until creamy. Chill for 30 min in fridge or until firm and spreadable.

Hot Stone Therapy is Not Just a Luxury

Shawna Klein, RMT, PTS
Registered Massage Therapist

A therapeutic massage is a holistic alternative for your health and wellbeing. It is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension. Hot Stone Therapy is more than a spa-like treatment; it also offers many benefits with a real emphasis on relaxation, healing and grounding.

Hot Stone Therapy is an effective treatment that involves deep penetrating heat from basalt stones along with Swedish massage techniques. The heated stones may be placed on various parts of the body to improve the flow of energy into the body. The heated stones also allow the muscles to relax and respond to tension release without the misconception that pain is necessary to reduce muscle tension.

hot stone massageSome of the benefits of Hot Stone Therapy Include:

  • Improves back/shoulder/neck pain
  • Improves lymphatic circulation
  • Increases circulation
  • Decreases menstrual pain
  • Decreases tension headaches
  • Decreases joint pain
  • Decreases sciatic pain
  • Promotes increased well-being and vitality
  • Promotes grounding due to the high magnetic field inherent in the stones
  • Reduces overall stress

Hot Stone Therapy is a wonderful treatment for both therapeutic reasons and relaxation. Consider bringing your massage experience to a new level and try a Hot Stone Massage.

You Are In Good Hands!

Andrea Nederveen, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist

Andrea Nederveen RMTWhen a client comes into our clinic for the first time or the 100th time, they can expect to be treated in a professional manner – that’s because Registered Massage Therapists are considered medical professionals. We always provide a knowledgeable, safe and trusting environment.

If you have never received treatment before, having a massage may be intimidating, especially since it is a one on one session. Let me assure you of the professionalism and comfort you will experience when you have a massage at our clinic.

Each Registered Massage Therapist has undergone a two to three year program to study the anatomy, physiology and pathology of the body. We have studied the techniques and treatment, as well as the indications and contraindications of massage therapy. As students, we log over 2200 hours of hands on work. Once our schooling is complete, we are required to be registered within the province of Ontario. This is a two-part process that includes a written exam and an oral practical exam at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. As a Registered Massage Therapist we are to maintain our registration by complying with codes, standards and ethics outlined by the College of Massage Therapist of Ontario (CMTO).

Related Links and Resources

Code of Ethics
www.cmto.com/about-the-profession/code-of-ethics

Charter on Professionalism
www.cmto.com/assets/Charter-on-Professionalism.pdf

Massage Therapy Competency Standards
www.cmto.com/about-the-profession/massage-therapy-competency-standards

Standards of Practice
www.cmto.com/about-the-profession/standards-of-practice

Massage Therapy Act, 1991
www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/91m27

Now that you have an idea of the education we receive and the standards we follow, let’s get to the comfort portion of the treatment.

Once we have looked over your complete health history and have had a chance to speak with you, a Registered Massage Therapist can suggest what type of treatment we think would be best for you. That being said, you are the client and are in complete control of your treatment. If you are not comfortable with the technique used or the pressure administered, it is always your right to have that stopped or adjusted. As Registered Massage Therapists, we have the knowledge to explain why we need to use certain techniques and pressure, but as a client you should never be uncomfortable or in pain on the table. Sometimes there is a little discomfort due to an injury you have sustained, and we can treat your injury within your pain tolerance. At no point should you be uncomfortable past your pain tolerance. If at any point we determine that the treatment you need is out of our scope of practice, we will refer you to someone who can address your specific needs. Your wellbeing is our best interest.

Once you have built a professional relationship with your Registered Massage Therapist, you will see that we are here to ease your pain, treat your conditions and enjoy a good chat from time to time! Let’s work together to build a professional relationship to ensure you receive safe, knowledgeable, comfortable and effective treatments to relieve your body of its aches and pains. Here at Wellness for the Body you are in good hands!

Pelvic Tilt – How to Recognize and Help the Imbalance

Kristine Haemel, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist

Kristine Haemel RMTThere are three types of pelvic tilt: anterior, posterior and lateral. The anterior pelvic tilt is the most common type, and the effects can be painful. There are ways to help correct the imbalance, but first let’s start with what is really going on in the body when this dysfunction is present.

An anterior pelvic tilt occurs when the pelvis rotates anteriorly (forward) in the sagittal pane (divides the body into left and right). The sacrum (base of the spine) is tightly wedged between the two hip bones, so when the pelvis tilts anteriorly, the sacrum moves with it. When the sacrum tips forward, the lower lumbar vertebra tilts forward too and creates an increase in the lumbar lordosis (excessive inward curvature of the spine). Due to the excessive lordosis, many individuals with the postural distortion are told they have weak abdominal muscles and need to strengthen them. However, if there is a dysfunction of the hip flexors and the low back extensors are not addressed, strengthening exercises of abdominals will have little benefit.

Causes for this Dysfunction

anterior pelvic tiltOften there is a combined action of muscles on opposite sides of the body that act together. Tightness in the back extensors (iliopsoas, multifidus and quadratus lumborum muscles) produces the anterior tilt. Prolonged sitting is another contributing factor as it causes the hip flexors to shorten. Most hip flexors connect the femur (thigh bone) either to the hip or to the lower back. When you stand up with shortened hip flexors, they not only pull on the femur from the hip, but also from the lower back (lumbar spine). This will cause the hip to tilt forward and the lumbar curvature to increase (excessive lordosis).

Effects of Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Increased lordosis causes greater compressive loads on the posterior vertebral arch structures, which could lead to lower back pain, knee pain, overemphasized kyphosis (hunching of the back), facet joint irritation, stress fractures in the vertebra, increased disc pressure and early disc degeneration.

How We Can Help Fix the Imbalance

Massage Therapy (including self massage) is always a great way to loosen up your hip flexors and help fix the imbalance. Massage treatment should be accompanied with hip flexor exercises in order to increase effectiveness. Below are two simple examples you can do at home.

pelvic tilt stretch Standing Wall Exercise

  • Stand with your back flat against the wall with your heels placed about 6 inches away
  • While keeping your knees straight, and your shoulders and hips against the wall, press your lower back in towards the wall
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds, then relax and repeat 10 times
pelvic tilt stretch Kneeling Exercise

  • Start in a half kneeling position with the left leg in front and the right leg behind
  • Rock forward keeping your back straight until a stretch is felt in the front of the right hip
  • Hold this stretch position for 1 minute, then switch legs and perform the stretch on the other side
  • Repeat twice on each side

A Cupful of Cupping Therapy

Monica Bourque, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist

Monica Bourque RMTThe use of Cupping Therapy dates back over 3000 years. It is used universally throughout the East and the West. Cupping is widely used by athletes, especially competition swimmers, and there is growing interest among medical doctors and chiropractors.

How does Cupping work?

A dozen specially designed glass orbs the size of cue balls are swabbed on the inside with alcohol and then used to line the spine. A flame is lit and the heat creates instant suction. The client is not affected by the flame, they simply feel a warm sensation. The skin beneath the cups becomes ruby-red as blood is drawn to the surface.

The general idea is negative pressure, rather than tissue compression. Cupping is de-compressive in nature; the technique employs suction to tug on the tightest muscles, stretching the fascia (soft tissues). The vacuum lifts the connective tissue off the muscle or bone and breaks up and drains stagnation while increasing blood and lymph flow to skin and muscles in ways not possible using compression.

Benefits of Cupping

cupping techniqueCupping is effective for pain relief, repetitive strains, inflammation, toxicity, bronchitis, cold and allergies, respiratory problems, digestive problems, and many other issues. The Mayo Clinic has also reported positive results for treating fibromyalgia. Combining cupping therapy with massage is highly recommended for optimal results; cupping loosens the affected area in order to receive the maximum amount of blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients from the massage – both body cells and nerves are richly nourished as a result.

Cupping therapy is one of the most effective treatment for reducing cellulite. Cupping combined with massage quickens the drainage of toxins from cellulite trapped between soft tissues, which is responsible for the orange peel texture on the skin. The suction from the cups stimulates the fibroblast cells to increase collagen and elastin production. With improved blood circulation and lymphatic drainage, the skin tone and texture is vastly improved. The treatment also helps keep the skin looking youthful and rejuvenated. Cupping for cellulite can be painful, depending on the individual and how much cellulite is accumulated. Cellulite (toxins) are attracted to the cups and stay tight. Once the treatment is complete, you will feel great relief as well as a little bit sore, which is a healthy sign of recovery.

Should I worry about the marks left behind by treatment?

The marks are not bruises, they are from the toxins that come to the surface during the treatment. The worse the toxicity in a certain area, or the older an injury, the longer the marks will be apparent. Depending on the skin type and other conditions, these marks can last from a few hours to a week.

Warning: Pregnant women and people with medical conditions should consult family doctors before receiving Cupping Therapy.

When to Use Hot and Cold Therapy

Steve Denyer, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist

Steve Denyer RMTRegistered Massage Therapists decide on the application of hydrotherapy during a massage and also determine the type of home care required after a treatment.

Heat and cold are the two most common types of noninvasive and non-addictive pain-relief therapies for muscle and joint pain. The choice between the two therapies depends on whether the pain is new or recurring.

In general, a new injury will cause inflammation and possibly swelling. Ice will decrease the blood flow to the injury, thereby decreasing inflammation and swelling. Reoccurring pain can be treated with heat, which brings blood to the area and promotes healing.

The following information can help you learn when and how to use temperature-related therapies.

Heat Therapy

What does heat therapy do?
Heat opens up blood vessels, which increases blood flow and supplies oxygen and nutrients to reduce pain in joints and relax sore muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The warmth also decreases muscle spasms and can increase range of motion. Applying superficial heat to your body can improve the flexibility of tendons and ligaments, reduce muscle spasms, and alleviate pain.

How is it applied?
Sources of heat can supply either dry or moist warmth. Dry heat sources may dry the skin. Moist heat may penetrate better. Heat can be applied by an electric or microwavable heating pad, hot water bottle, gel packs, or hot water baths. My preferred suggestion is an Epsom salt bath as it has healing properties with magnesium as the main source. Epsom salt baths can dehydrate you, so drink plenty of water after and limit the bath to no more than 20 minutes. The heat should be warm, not too hot, and should be maintained at a consistent temperature, if possible. Ask your doctor or massage therapist which heat source would be best for you.

When do you use it?
Apply heat if you have stiff joints or chronic muscle and joint pain.

How can I use it safely?

  • Don’t apply it directly to skin. Instead, wrap the hot device in a thin towel.
  • Don’t apply heat for longer than 20 minutes, unless your doctor or massage therapist recommends longer.
  • Don’t use heat if there’s swelling. Use cold first, then heat.
  • Don’t use heat if you have poor circulation or diabetes.
  • Don’t use heat on an open wound or stitches.
  • Don’t lie down on a heating pad – you could fall asleep and burn your skin.

Cold Therapy

What does cold therapy do?
Cold slows down blood flow to an injury, thereby reducing pain and swelling. Cold therapy slows circulation, reducing inflammation, muscle spasm, and pain. It should be used if the area is swollen or bruised.

How is it applied?
Cold is applied by an ice or gel pack.

When do you use it?
Any cold treatment should be used for 24 to 48 hours after an injury. Cold therapy is good for sprains, strains, bumps, and bruises that may occur in sports or lifting. Apply cold packs or ice bags to injured areas for no more than 20 minutes at a time. Remove the cold for 10 minutes before applying it again.

How can I use it safely?
Don’t apply it for longer than 20 minutes. Also, wrap ice or ice packs in a thin towel before applying.

The general rule of thumb is that in an acute (newer) injury, use ice to reduce inflammation and to numb the pain receptors. I prefer using heat myself, as I believe that inflammation is a good thing and the body’s innate response to healing itself. Both heat and cold have their time and place as the more appropriate application, depending on the symptoms presented and timing of the injury.

Osteopathy Returns to Wellness for the Body

We are so excited to welcome back Lisa Marie Foreman to our wellness team!

Lisa Marie Foreman OSTEOPATHLisa Marie is a Registered Massage Therapist and an Osteopath, registered with the Ontario Osteopathy Association. Many extended health benefits cover osteopathy services, just check with your provider. Here is a little bit more from Lisa Marie on what osteopathy is and how this therapy can benefit your health and wellness:

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a hands-on gentle approach used to identify structural changes and rhythms in the body. The practice depends on detailed knowledge of anatomy, physiology and biomechanics, paired with a highly developed sense of palpation (touch). It treats movement restrictions in your body tissues by removing restrictions to the natural flow of body fluids (lymphatic, vascular, and neurological), which must be liberated, preserved and maintained. When the body has no restrictions, it has the inherent ability to heal itself.

Osteopathy provides highly effective therapy for the regular aches and pains of everyday living. Chronic back pain, headaches, migraines, sciatica, golfer’s elbow, carpal tunnel syndromes, TMJ dysfunction, and repetitive strain injury all respond well to osteopathic treatment. It can even help the patient avoid surgery.

The practice of Osteopathy includes, but is not limited to: craniosacral therapy, lymphatic drainage, myofascial release, muscle energy technique, strain/counter-strain, mobilizations, and self-care.